I always see advice about caulking baseboards, and I wonder how other people get this to work.
When we talk about baseboard caulk, we're talking about applying painter's caulk to the upper ridge of the baseboard, where the baseboard meets the wall. Or should we say: where the baseboard is supposed to meet the wall...
Why People Caulk Baseboards
Yet often, baseboards do not meet the wall. Even in newer walls, you'll find gentle curves which form gaps along the tops of the baseboards.
In extreme cases, these gaps are so big that they allow air infiltration and can seriously impact your energy bills. In minor cases, these gaps are simply unattractive. I think that when we are talking about energy loss, you don't have many choices but to apply caulking.
Why Caulking Baseboards Doesn't Work
I find that even if the caulking is expertly applied and nicely painted, over time cracks will form because the baseboard slightly pulls away from the wall. In some cases, it's because the baseboard shrinks. If you're dealing with non-wood baseboards, shrinkage isn't a problem.
But it seems like minor cracks will still form, especially on a wall that has rattles and bumps from a door opening and closing.
Thin baseboards can hug the wall tighter, eliminating those gaps. Even tall, thick baseboards (5 1/4" or taller) can be made to conform to the wall a bit better when nailed down correctly. Ignoring small gaps is another solution: gaps that seem so patently obvious at the time of installation tend to fade from view after awhile. Another solution is to stack your baseboards the old-fashioned way, with a separate, thinner piece on top that can easily hug the wall.
Anyone with ideas is welcome to add to the Comments section.
Image Copyright Lowe's